Saturday, August 08, 2009


Here's some recommended reading; several essays, articles & such that I've read at one time or another and found to be especially illuminating or memorable:

The Problem With Music, by Steve Albini
An enlightening look at the relationship between new bands and record labels. I used to want to be a rock musician. This essay confirmed to me that I should be an indie rock musician, if anything. I eventually gave that up because there was no money in it and I didn't have the ability or motivation to write songs, but that's another thing.

I, Pencil, by Leonard E. Read
A testament to the creative power of free market economies.

Fern-Seed and Elephants, by C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis, as a literary critic, rips on the methods of some Biblical critics.

The Special Theory of Relativity, by Richard Feynman
This is best explanation of Special Relativity I've ever encountered. I think that is because 1. He starts with Newton's physics, which I understand, and compares it to Special Relativity, and 2.
He uses math. Math is hard and boring and scary, so some explanations try to avoid it, relying on imagination alone, and fail miserably. Maybe because modern physical theories are mathematical statements. Don't fight it! Give in to the algebra. Listen to the calculus.

Parkinson's Law, by C. Northcote Parkinson
On second reading, I think the title is immodest and the article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it's nonetheless convincing. I bet Parkinson's Law applies to corporate managers, but it's counteracted by the fact that laying off excess managerial staff is a good way to cut costs.

The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus
I generally like the famous existentialist writers, even though I disagree with them on some very basic things. Maybe it's because we ask the same questions, though we accept different answers. This essay has popped into my mind many times since I first read it years ago.

G.K. Chesterton

Chesterton gets his own section. He's sophistical at times, but his insight and his humor are priceless. These are a few of my favorites.


timmer said...

great essays

Scott said...

Have you ever read Paul Graham?

I suggest starting with "Why Nerds Are Unpopular."

All of his essays are here:

mackwai said...

Thanks, Scott. I've got a new author to read now.

He makes some good points in that essay; especially about how teenager's relationship to society has changed.